What is important about this play, and at first seems irrelevant, is that it is set in 1912. What must be remembered is that today if a young woman was struggling with the dilemmas that Eva Smith faced then there are measures such as unfair dismissal and welfare systems in place to ensure that no person feels like suicide is their only option. This is important because the question, who, ultimately is, what, because the era in which Eva Smith lived in and her class are to blame for her death and the Birling family were not guilty of any crimes when the play was set.
However, the Birling family are an upper class family and have each played a part in the girl’s suicide, some more than others, and this is what will be discussed in this essay.
Eva’s troubles begin when she is working for head of the Birling family, Mr Arthur Birling. Mr Birling tells the inspector that ‘she’d been working in one of our(his) machine shops for over a year. A good worker too”. Unfortunately, Mr Birling discharged Miss Smith from Birling and Co because she had asked and striked for twenty-five shillings a week instead of twenty-two and sixpence. Mr Birling stated that it’s his ‘duty to keep labour costs down’ and for that reason she had to go for being a ring leader and ‘causing trouble in the works’.
Although Mr Birling’s actions seem selfish, he had treated her typically of any business man of that era. Gerald Croft, son of the owner of a rival to Mr Birling’s business, says ‘I know we would have done the same thing’ if he was in Mr Birling’s position. Eva ‘hadn’t been able to save much out of what Birling and Company had paid her’ but despite this managed to find another job...